PRINT CONTROLLERS & APPE (PDF PRINT ENGINE) 5.0?

Shredder

Well-known member
Considering how many tens of thousands of dollars go into a print controller why wouldn't manufacturers be quick to update them to offer the latest in technology. See Adobe Print Engine 5.0 is out but none of the manufacturers have bothered upgrading to it. If I am writing a check for $10k+ I want latest and greatest. Konica controller is at 4.2 and Fiery is at 3.0. Why do they not update immediately? Almost 99% of my rips come from PDF documents. Is there a print controller that updates these things right away? This was released 2.5 years ago! APPE IS DESIGNED TO IMPROVE DIGITAL PRESSES!

Adobe Print Engine 5.0 Features

Version 5 of the PDF Print Engine includes:
  • Enhancements for Expanded Color Gamut printing
  • PDF 2.0 support
  • Page-level Output Intent
  • Smooth edges for graphics
  • Enhanced Unicode support

FEATURES:
High Impact Color Rendering
New capabilities to harness the full potential of today’s digital and conventional presses, including support for PDF 2.0 color features such as Black Point Compensation (BPC), Half-tone Origin (HTO), Spectral data for spot colors (CxF), and Page-Level Output Intent.
Anti-aliasing
PDF Print Engine can visually smooth
the sharp edges in text and graphics, especially helpful at low resolutions.
Enhanced Unicode Support
Control parameters, file paths and passwords can include multi-byte characters.

Tile Parallel Processing
A large surface can be subdivided into tiles, each of which can be rendered by a separate instance of the PDF Print Engine, running on a dedicated CPU. When complete, the rasterized tiles are seamlessly reassembled. Tests show significant performance gains for a range of job types.
Cache management
Repeating elements in VDP jobs, and step-and-repeat labels/packaging jobs, can be cached after rendering to minimize processing times. Opaque and transparent elements can be cached and retrieved. PDF Print Engine supports caching of both rasters and device primitives (Display List elements).
16-bit processing
PDF Print Engine can be configured for end-to-end processing of images and graphics defined with 16-bit colors, ensuring smooth gradients at any length (no banding), and precise colors on any substrate.

JDF-based automation
The PDF Print Engine integrates into workflows managed by Job Definition Format (JDF), the industry standard. This capability can be leveraged for in-RIP processing of impositions, text placement, etc.
PDF Helper
PDF Print Engine includes the “PDF Helper” utility for dynamic job configuration based on run-time inspection of incoming files (read-only).
Tight integration with PDF Library
For systems which include the Adobe PDF Library, PDF Print Engine can invoke it at run-time, enabling real-time modification of job content, immediately prior to rendering.
Non-binary halftones
PDF Print Engine can produce accurate 2-bit, 3-bit and 4-bit continuous tone output for non-binary halftone screening.
Inline image processing
PDF Print Engine can be configured for in-RIP modification of images using any pre-defined algorithm, and metadata inputs.
Object-level transformation
PDF Print Engine can apply transforms to all elements in a job, or to elements of the same type (e.g. images). In additional, individual objects can be discretely targeted for transformation.
PDF Driver support
PDF Print Engine can accept printstreams submitted directly from desktop applications via the Adobe PDF Driver. It can also accept PostScript via the Adobe PDF Converter.
Smoothest shades ever
Long gradient blends, both axial and radial, can sometimes show banding and artifacts when they include abrupt color changes. These unwanted effects have been eliminated. Continuous shading effects are consistently smooth, and more fluid than ever!
Optimized compression
PDF Print Engine can distinguish between images, vectors and unmarked areas, right down to the pixel level, which enables use of the most efficient type of compression, for each type of content.
Live Transparency
PDF Print Engine renders content using core Adobe PDF technology to accurately render transparent images and graphics, and effects such as drop shadows and feathering, even when combined with spot colors and smooth shades.

VDP support
PDF Print Engine supports Variable Data Print (VDP) workflows where job content is expressed as Optimized PDF or PDF/VT, or where a PDF file is used as a page element in any other VDP architecture. Direct mail and Transpromo jobs can take advantage of the full richness of the PDF imaging model with high impact personalized content.
ICC-based Color management
PDF Print Engine uses the Adobe Color Engine (ACE) or proprietary CMMs (Color Management Modules) to efficiently and consistently render job elements, defined in any combination of color spaces, to a reference printing condition (e.g. SWOP), using ICC profiles.
64-bit operation
64-bit processing delivers a large addressable memory space, and faster performance than 32-bit. PDF Print Engine is available for 64-bit platforms.
 
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msaeger

Well-known member
Sometimes updating things causes problems too 😊 Just look at windows updates. Sometimes I will see appe cause files to print incorrectly. I don't know enough about all of the options when creating the document to know why but sometimes I need to turn it off. Now maybe if they had a newer version it wouldn't have problems. I will see places using other software that is ancient and causes issues but won't upgrade because of the cost.
 
Sometimes updating things causes problems too 😊 Just look at windows updates. Sometimes I will see appe cause files to print incorrectly. I don't know enough about all of the options when creating the document to know why but sometimes I need to turn it off. Now maybe if they had a newer version it wouldn't have problems. I will see places using other software that is ancient and causes issues but won't upgrade because of the cost.
I agree. Windows 10 update just created issues with Feiry and Fusion Pro. Problem is that updates are like medication (they have adverse side effects) sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.
 

Shredder

Well-known member
Well, I agree on windows 10. I am still on Windows 7 for that reason.

But when spending sooo much money on cutting edge technology it doesn't make sense to be years behind. Especially since adobe is a reputable company that I'm sure has greatly improved their product in last 2 versions. This is specifically designed for digital printing presses to improve output quality greatly.
 

Steve0

Well-known member
The latest Fiery system software, FS400 Pro, offers APPE 5.0. Konica Minolta was the first to offer Fiery servers with FS400 Pro back in February, for their C14000 and C12000 machines. Canon just announced Fiery servers with FS4000 Pro, for their C10010VP and C9010VP machines, last month. These are all fairly high-end machines, as toner-based devices go; but shortly, KM will be releasing more mainstream machines with APPE 5.0-equipped Fierys.
 

Shredder

Well-known member
I am in the market for a print controller, do I wait until KM releases it for C6100?

I wish the C12000 fiery was backward compatible with C6100. Eventually I may get a C12000 years from now. The IC-313 for C6100 comes with F200 Pro.
 

Steve0

Well-known member
I am in the market for a print controller, do I wait until KM releases it for C6100?

I wish the C12000 fiery was backward compatible with C6100. Eventually I may get a C12000 years from now. The IC-313 for C6100 comes with F200 Pro.
The IC-313 came with FS200 Pro at initial release in 2018. It has long since been upgradeable to FS300 Pro, but you won't see FS400 Pro for the C6100.
 

Steve0

Well-known member
Will they upgrade FS300 to be APPE 5.0? KM iC-604 is at APPE 4.2.
I doubt it. FS300 Pro is long in the tooth already, and if anything, rather than bring new features and functionality to it, they'll just go on releasing fixes. I'm sure that new features development is focused more on FS400 Pro now, and the roadmap of future releases.

I don't speak for EFI, though. You might want to post your question to their forum, EFI Communities.
 

donnied

Active member
From what I understand, the reason that the Fiery controllers can't just be upgraded to newer levels of APPE is that the Fiery's are not just computers that run a software program within an operating system like linux or windows. They have hardware encoded "firmware" running on Adobe propietary chips on the motherboard that allow the rip software to operate, including APPE. Basically the RIP is built around a version of APPE. So to upgrade you'd have to replace the motherboard as well as the software. With hardware obsolescence being so fast, upgrades like this go along with the hardware upgrades like a new printer with it's propietary RIP.
 
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Puch

Well-known member
The new features in APPE 5.0 were needed to be able to cope with PDF 2.0 documents. Basically Adobe had to establish a complete 'food chain' for PDF 2.0 to be able to promote this 'innovation'. But the (print) market is traditionally slow to embrace new technology, and I bet it will be a very slow transition to PDF 2.0 as it has minimal gains for printers. On the other hand, PDF 2.0 might cause major headaches to us, as these documents show up differently on different devices (they're re-wrappable on the fly to fit tiny screens eg. on mobile phones). Imagine getting a document 'approved' on a mobile phone (a common practice today) which shows up in a different way on a mobile phone, on your computer and on paper. You should start making efforts getting APPE 5.0 when 'print-ready' PDF 2.0 documents gain foothold in the print industry.
 

Shredder

Well-known member
From what I understand, the reason that the Fiery controllers can't just be upgraded to newer levels of APPE is that the Fiery's are not just computers that run a software program within an operating system like linux or windows. They have hardware encoded "firmware" running on Adobe propietary chips on the motherboard that allow the rip software to operate, including APPE. Basically the RIP is built around a version of APPE. So to upgrade you'd have to replace the motherboard as well as the software. With hardware obsolescence being so fast, upgrades like this go along with the hardware upgrades like a new printer with it's propietary RIP.

Please correct me if I am wrong but newer version of APPE the higher the software quality of the print/rip? ie KM controller is at v4.2 whereas fiery is only at v3.0? Like would you base your decision to buy one controller over another based on APPE if you are trying to compare quality?
 

Shredder

Well-known member
The new features in APPE 5.0 were needed to be able to cope with PDF 2.0 documents. Basically Adobe had to establish a complete 'food chain' for PDF 2.0 to be able to promote this 'innovation'. But the (print) market is traditionally slow to embrace new technology, and I bet it will be a very slow transition to PDF 2.0 as it has minimal gains for printers. On the other hand, PDF 2.0 might cause major headaches to us, as these documents show up differently on different devices (they're re-wrappable on the fly to fit tiny screens eg. on mobile phones). Imagine getting a document 'approved' on a mobile phone (a common practice today) which shows up in a different way on a mobile phone, on your computer and on paper. You should start making efforts getting APPE 5.0 when 'print-ready' PDF 2.0 documents gain foothold in the print industry.
Thank you for pointing this out. I was starting to feel I'm spending $10k on ancient technology. Some of the press releases made it sound like a super innovation for digital production printers.
 

donnied

Active member
The manufacturers build their printers to use the latest Fiery available at the time. Ricoh had a FS400 fiery out on the latest machine they built, the C5300 series, in early spring. The next new machine will have the next latest Fiery.
 

Shredder

Well-known member
The manufacturers build their printers to use the latest Fiery available at the time. Ricoh had a FS400 fiery out on the latest machine they built, the C5300 series, in early spring. The next new machine will have the next latest Fiery.
Somehow fiery was behind konica by a whole version with my printer C6100.
 

scotts

Well-known member
There is also the issue of being able to reprint old jobs. And there have been issues with restoring jobs from a previous version of APPE, in the beginning of new versions. No one wants to keep multiple systems in operation because of compatibility issues. RIP manufactures don't want to release anything at least until everything thing is thoroughly tested in a printing environment to make sure it won't cause their customers to be mad and calling support constantly.
Don't get me wrong, I love new versions of tech, but not in a production environment. I'd rather have something that is bullet proof, and isn't down or causing me headaches.
 

Shredder

Well-known member
I used to feel that way and have had my shares of headaches BUT in modern digital age paying 5 figures for a controller I expect much much more. If controllers cost $1-3k I feel differently. The amount they are charging warrants optional technological improvements and enhancements.
 

Puch

Well-known member
If you use old (proven, reliable) tech, that's good for you and your business, but that doesn't generate profit for Adobe, Fiery etc. This is why they push 'innovations' like mad. Somehow they need to persuade you to invest into new tech, even if it offers minimal advantages in the daily practice. The traditional method was effective marketing and frequent visits by salesmen. Alas, today that's not enough so they started to implement ways to force the users to upgrade, even if you don't really need any new features from the offerings. What I see on the DTP side is that they're now in 'overdrive' mode, Adobe InDesign being the premier vehicle to push through changes and force them onto the designers.
 
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Shredder

Well-known member
My concern is getting higher quality prints. If there is no improvement I don't need unnecessary tech. They make it sound like software enhancements have greatly improved and now we can get much smoother gradations in the print. Maybe its all marketing ploys.
 

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